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Thread: Negative film to digital

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    Negative film to digital

    Hi everyone,
    I like to get my old negativ film from my old Canon EOS 650 film camera on to a usb/disc any idea how I could do it myself?
    Cheers Klaus!
    I am happy about any CC to the pictures I show. These pictures can be P.P. and in the same thread showed again!
    Thank you Klaus!

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    You will need to get those negatives scanned...and this is where the fun begins.

    Ok, there are a few ways to get the job done. A lot of this comes done to what you plan to do with the images and whether you want to gear up and tackle it yourself.

    If you are curious, I will write a bit more of a full on post later.

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    Thanks for the reply hoffy!
    Well i have got a lot of old negatives fom when my first daughter was still small and also other from my life in South Africa and Germany and I really like to have them digital so I can make pitures later from it or make a digital frame with the pics!
    I just do not know, you need special equipment for it? And if yes will it be expensiv? Or should I rather look if I can find a company which can do it for me. The think is it is quiet a lot on negatives so I thought it might be cheaper if I could do it my self!
    Cheers klaus!

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    How many images?
    How much you want to pay?

    Two major questions.

    There are two ways to go about it.

    1. Bundle it all up, hand it to a professional and watch the credit card get it's biggest workout ever.
    This should give you either major size files that you can edit at your will or smaller jpegs that you store.
    At my last asking the pro came back with a price of $4.00 per image for 900 images in a ready for me to edit format. That was four years ago.

    2. Take said same credit card for a walk and invest in a scanner.
    This in itself raises two questions. 1. How good a scanner and 2. Will it be used for anything else later.
    An American currently has a Nikon Coolscan LS-10e for sale on eBay for $130.00 whilst there's a 4000 in Melb for $870 plus freight. Nikon Coolscan is the ideal negative scanner if you want the best results. BTW these have been discontinued. The good part with these is they keep their value if you want to sell it later.
    You can get some flatbed scanners that do a fair job at around $300.00 each.
    Either way you are looking at 10 to 30 minutes to scan and edit each image.
    Peter.

    Some of my photo's are at www.peterking.id.au

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    I think Peter has pretty much got it in a nutshell. As he has suggested, you can either get it done professionally or do it yourself.

    DIY
    There are 2 options.
    Flat bed scanner. You can buy a flat bed scanner as part of many All in one printers, but unfortunately, these won't be able to scan negs. At a minimum, you would need a scanner or an all-in-one that has film scanning abilities. These will have a light source both below the glass platen and above in the lid. My first scanner was a Canon and part of an all in one. The scans were OK, but I wouldn't want to print from them. Unfortunately something in the mechanism jammed that I was never able to fix, which rendered the whole unit junk...

    Epson do a reasonable range of dedicated flat bed scanners, with the ability to scan negatives. My current scanner is an Epson V700, which is pretty much the top of the range consumer scanner that they sell in Australia (there is another, but its an A3 scanner, for 3x's the price). The reason I have this specific scanner, is that it will do Medium Format and Large Format film. When I shoot film, I predominantly shoot medium format. Epson do other scanners that will only do 35mm. I don't have much experience with them, so I can't really comment.

    But there is a gotcha - If you want to get the most out of 35mm negatives, flat beds are not the best option. They will scan fine for web/digital display and small prints, but thats about it. They are also a bit slow and clunky.

    If I had a big job for just 35mm, i would definitely get a dedicated film scanner and I would buy something that is relatively OK. The main names for desktop film scanning were Nikon (coolscan) or Konika-Minolta (Dimage). Unfortunately, both are neither producing scanners anymore. As Peter said, if you can find one @ the right price, once you finish the job, you should be able to sell it for around the same price. But, there are gotchas as well for these - be careful of older scanners, as they may not be USB or firewire compatible. Some might have SCSI interfaces, which won't be easy to connect and will become fiddly. Also, a lot won't have drivers compatible for Windows 7. There is a workaround and that is to use Vuescan software, which does support many different scanners. This is a good piece of software and in my opinion a must. You really must do your research to find out what you need to do to get a scanner to work, before committing to one.

    You can still buy new film scanners in the form of Plustech, pacific and the like. I am not sure how good they are. I have used a Plustech scanner that I borrowed from a friend, but it was playing up and in the end I gave it back without really scanning anything.

    Ken Rockwell has some good info on scanners, if you care to read - http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/scanrex.htm

    Outsourcing
    This can get expensive and a lot of it depends on how much effort they put into each scan. There are 2 places local 2 me (Adelaide) and their prices vary wildly. One will batch a roll of film for around $24. The other charges FROM $3.80 per frame - as you can see, it does get expensive. The best thing to do if you want to outsource the job is shop around and even try out any prospective shop with a strip or so before committing.

    If you really want to, you could always go Drum Scanning. This is the Rolls Royce and NASA solution, all in one and the prices reflect it. Don't expect much change from $20 at a minimum, per image/frame. But you will extract every last piece of information out of the negative.

    The hardest thing with scanning is getting the colours right, whether its you doing the job or someone else. Contrary to popular belief, a well kept colour negative should look just like any colour photograph (not an instagram picture!). The beauty of it all is that once you get one right for a specific film type, you should be able to batch at least that roll, or photos taken in similar conditions.

    Good luck
    Last edited by hoffy; 26-11-2013 at 9:30pm.

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    Thank you for all the info guys!
    I do not know in the moment which way I will go! I reckon i will have to look around and get only the one scanned which I also want a print from.
    This way it might not get that expencive!
    Thanks, cheers Klaus!

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    My experience in this was:

    Scanner: too big, too bulky, and while they do seem to keep their value once used you still have to find some way to offload it once you're done.
    As Hoffy said too, software connectivity is going to be an issue too with modern OSes.

    Not yet mentioned is the ability to purchase some (cheap, or expensive) hardware to connect to your (digital)camera to take photos of these slides instead.
    (that's what I did)

    You can get a simple slide copier device which just attaches to a macro lens in some way, and you take photos like that.
    But again, you have the side issue or once you've finished, what do you do with the device! It'll almost certainly be a once off project to do I'm thinking and once done, you won't ever need it again.

    The other way(s) to view the issue, are:
    Do(or can) you make up a device to do this yourself for little to no expense

    or

    Can you justify a moderate additional expense and acquire a device that has multiple uses.
    (this is what I did).

    I got a high quality macro bellows, making sure that the one I did get had the accessory slide copy adapter. While the slide copy adapter may never get used again, the bellows does quite a lot(for macro, as the name implies).


    Two things I noted about the entire process after 'scanning' my images:
    Once setup and testing was finalised, which took countless hours(over a few days of working things out) ... actually copying the images (eg. 36) took only minutes to complete.
    So if you have say a hundred slides. It may only take an hour or so to do.
    Scanning can be excruciatingly slow ... many minutes per scan at higher quality.
    With using your camera, you have the option to capture raw images(which shouldn't be underestimated either).

    Because you have a good distance between light source and negative, this also allows you a lot of control over how much light to allow/disallow to the slide as well.

    Combine shooting in raw format, plus the ability to dodge and burn during the copying process ... if you have any negatives where the dynamic range was too high for the film, you can probably balance this out much quicker and simply than multiple scans of an image and then blending in HDR(which I was going to try as a backup method).

    A good quality(ie. Nikon/Olympus/Minolta .. that I know of) macro bellows with slide copy adapter may cost you about $200 .. hopefully less.
    As you have a Canon caamera, it'd be best to keep this sort of device native to your camera system.
    I have no knowledge of the Canon versions of these types of devices .. only Nikon(that I got), Olympus and Minolta version.


    here's an image of a bellows + slide copy adapterjust randomly found on the web)


    (whoa! that's a much bigger image than I thought it was going to be, hopefully the system will resize it properly)

    The idea behind this contraption is as you see here, very simple. You simply slide the film through the slot at the window on the RHS and snap away.
    All you have to add to this image is a high quality light source(I used a halogen desk lamp .. CFLs are notoriously colour problematic!)

    Finally, you need to set up a batch process in your software to reverse the images from negs and you're done.(this should be easy).

    Be warned tho, don't think that the more detail you capture of the slide, the better. All you may end up with is really high quality images with exceptional detail rendering of the film grain!


    Note that many people have made their own 'shoebox' contraption that works in the same way as these slide copiers do ... for little to no expense to themselves at all.
    I was also going to do that, but thought that the macro capability of the bellows was going to be a bonus for me.

    If you do a search on here for film copying or something like that, you may end up with a few threads on the topic.
    Have a browse through the film forum ... film forum
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    Yes, I got caught up in scanning.

    The thing about that solution is consistency, particularly with your light source. Getting colour balance correct is key, which is something that would be needed to be done in photoshop.

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    thanks for all your help guys. After reading through Arthurs post I found also the right name for this kind of device to look more specific!
    I think I will order this one
    http://www.amazon.com/OMNI-Stand-Alo...=slide+copiers

    Sounds like even I should be able to manage it with it!

    Cheers klaus!

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    One more thing to add. TIME!

    Do you have to time to scan them all and process them? I did several thousand for my parents a few years back and it was very time consuming. Something most of us do not have a lot of spare these days.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Ricktas I do not put them all on digital,
    only the ones which I like to keep for myself! ! reckon it will be somewhere between 150 - 200 images, maimly pics from my daughters when they went small ( baby till about 4/7years old) from there on I had anyway a digital camera!!
    Also I am not in a hurry with it!
    Thanks Klaus!

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    Just one more thing. When you are done, remember to keep your negatives. They are more of a resilient backup then people give them credit for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    ..... They are more of a resilient backup then people give them credit for.
    No amount of resilience can counter stupidity! the weakest link in the chain sort of thing.

    Don't lose them, don't just throw them all in a suitcase and then forget where the suitcase is, or that you thought you gave it to so and so ... etc.

    I was going to a a large lot of slides of my parents when they were young(from the 50's-60's) but mum can't remember where the suitcase is!

    Found a small lot in a box in a room of their old house and they were all damaged by mould.

    So while they can be resilient, you still need to store them carefully too tho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    No amount of resilience can counter stupidity! the weakest link in the chain sort of thing.

    Don't lose them, don't just throw them all in a suitcase and then forget where the suitcase is, or that you thought you gave it to so and so ... etc.

    I was going to a a large lot of slides of my parents when they were young(from the 50's-60's) but mum can't remember where the suitcase is!

    Found a small lot in a box in a room of their old house and they were all damaged by mould.

    So while they can be resilient, you still need to store them carefully too tho.
    Absolutely,as it is for every archival process.

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    I'd be wary of such a device. It is cheap, and it boasts little in the way of specs. If you want sort of "snapshots" it might be OK,
    but I reckon you'd be disappointed. Yes, the ways to go are:
    - a slide/negative scanner - a potentially onerous undertaking, with lots of learning to do as how to get optimal results
    (Note: many printers will do slide/neg scanning for 35mm film.)
    - get them scanned - and lose control over the process
    - get a slide duplicator as AK said - a small addition to your kit and you use the camera's - and your present - abilities

    I have a good slide scanner and hardly ever use it (any more).
    Am.
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